When you’re traveling through a beautiful country, I find it’s best to make it a road trip. This way you can stop and explore as much or as little as possible, which is why I chose to do a Scotland road trip.
We started our Scotland road trip in Edinburgh after arriving by train from London. One of my favorite things about seeing a new city is doing as the locals do, which is why I find walking is the best route. While we were there [in April] it was cold and very windy, but luckily the sun was out. My brother and I started by climbing to the top of Scott Monument, which has stunning city views especially during golden hour. If you don’t like small spaces or heights then skip this one because it has both of those. After this we actually just wandered around until we made our way to Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Royal Mile. The Mile is the main street that brings you directly to the castle and there are tons of pubs and shops on this street.
The next morning, before leaving the city for Perth, we went to Arthur’s Seat. Since we didn’t have as much time as I would’ve liked, we kind of cheated by driving up the backside and parking. You can hike up to the very top or park in a lot that decreases the length of the hike. It was a beautiful morning so it was very busy. This is a great activity if you like hiking, want a unique view of the city or both.
Perth is a small town in Scotland that I really enjoyed visiting. We only stayed here for one night, but had time to do a little bit of exploring while there. If you visit on a Sunday or holiday most places will be closed. However, there’s still enough to see for one night if you like to wander. The Royal George Hotel, where we stayed, is right on the river and has so much character. We had late afternoon tea here, which turned into dinner followed by walking along the river for a little bit. The next morning consisted of breakfast and flying the drone around before heading out for a day of driving and exploring.
The drive from Perth isn’t too long, but we stopped a few times to explore so it took us longer than expected with our longest stop being around Glencoe. It’s incredibly scenic and beautiful so be prepared to stop for photos. Fort William is a small city on the water where we stayed at the Nevis Bank Inn. After exploring the town a bit we decided to grab dinner in our hotel and call it a night. The Browns Restaurant on the main level of the newly renovated Nevis Bank Inn was really great. I had salmon over risotto, which was seriously mouthwatering.
The next morning, we drove as far as we could up Ben Nevis. We passed the location where Braveheart was filmed and continued to follow the sheep up. When we got to the top parking lot, there weren’t many other cars there or people because the hiking is said to be great from here and if you go far enough there’s a waterfall. We didn’t have the right hiking attire or gear for the cold and wet hike so we explored close to the car park, which is still a beautiful view. After this, we drove to the Glenfinnan Viaduct [Harry Potter Bridge]. There’s a short 5-minute hike up a steep hill to see the entire bridge or if you park at the second lot you come to you can walk all the way to the bridge, which is only about 15-minutes. You can also ride the train over the bridge, but this depends on when you go because it typically runs in the warmer months. After exploring the Viaduct and the surrounding area, we began our next leg of the trip to Inverness.
After driving for a few hours and making multiple stops because Scotland is so beautiful, we finally made it to Inverness. The reason for our entire trip was a family wedding in Inverness so we were incredibly excited to get here and start seeing some familiar faces. Our days here consisted of wandering around the city, eating and going to various wedding functions. I love how easy it is to get around Inverness if you’re staying in the city. There are plenty of restaurants and little nooks to explore. Once again, most of our time consisted of wandering around.
Isle of Skye
The morning after the wedding, we decided to drive to Isle of Skye. We knew there wasn’t a ton of time, but wanted to see some of it before we left. We stopped in Portree, which is a must-do. It’s such a cute town and is easy to walk around. After stopping here we went on to the Skeabost Hotel, where we stayed that night. This newly renovated and beautiful hotel used to be a hunting lodge and now has golfing, a great restaurant and plenty of relaxation. We did a bit of exploring when we arrived before having cocktails and dinner.
After breakfast the next morning, which was also great, we left to make our way to Quiraing. I’m so glad we did this because the views on the drive are almost as incredible as the view from Quiraing itself. You can walk a short distance from the parking for the view or can hike a little farther, if you want. It’s breathtaking because of the greenery and oddly shaped land, but is also very windy. After this we made a few more photo stops before getting to Old Man of Storr. We opted out of this hike because of time and weather, but I will definitely do it next time. There’s a little bit of a walk to get to the best viewpoint so be prepared. We continued our trip back to Inverness after making several stops to enjoy the scenery as well as stopping at the Glen Ord Whiskey Distillery, which is close to Inverness. We spent our last few hours in Inverness with some family still in town from the wedding.
Here’s the main route we used for this road trip.
There are so many ways to do a Scotland road trip! Have another route I should try next time? Leave it in the comments below!
[Just remember, sometimes you might be driving on the other side of the road or might need a different type of license than you have at home.]